Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Peter Diamandis: Breakthrough Dreamer

Peter Diamandis is the driving force behind the innovation-fueling X-Prize and Singularity University, and a leading writer and speaker on the potential for exponential and unexpected technological and socially/environmentally-beneficial breakthroughs in the years to come. We could easily have included him alongside his oft-colleague Ray Kurzweil as a Driver, but the breadth of his vision, especially in the book Abundance, tips him toward Dreamer-hood.

About Peter Diamandis:
Diamandis’ website
Wiki on Diamandis
Peter Diamandis newsletter

Book: Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
Abundance is a whirlwind tour through several interacting forces that Diamandis sees as driving widespread and largely unexpected innovations in the coming years.

Video: Abundance is Our Future
Video: Nine-minute montage of Diamandis media interviews; a good introduction to his primary themes.

Two recent Diamandis initiatives are designed for entrepreneurs and impact investors looking to make positive change in the world:
Book: Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
Website/network: Abundance360
Book review of Bold: The review’s opening sentences capture the gist of Diamandis’ breakthrough dreams: “Just as an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs that ruled the Earth and made way for small furry mammals, a new wave of planetary disruptions is about to occur. The new asteroid is called ‘exponential technology.’ It is going to wipe out industries in a similar manner to the rock which fell on Earth during the Cretaceous Period.”

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Stewart Brand: Eco-techno-optimist

Stewart Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog, which included practical tools for back to the landers as well as tracking the leading edges of technology, including personal computing and the emergence of the internet. In recent years, he has brought an earth-loving engineer’s perspective to environmental issues, releasing a challenging book and championing “de-extinction,” which hopes use biotechnology to bring back extinct species. He is in many ways a prototypical driver, ever focused on getting good at it.

Stewart Brand homepage.

Book: Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto is a 2009 book by Stewart Brand. He sees Earth and people propelled by three transformations: climate change, urbanization, and biotechnology. Brand tackles “touchy issues” like nuclear power, genetic engineering and geoengineering, pushing his progressive readers to rethink some of their dogmas and assumptions.

Video: Four environmental heresies
This talk is a whirlwind tour through Brand’s challenging book, Whole Earth Discipline.

Videos: Brand TED talks
Includes talks on de-extinction, nuclear power, a positive view of squatter cities, and the Long Now.

The Long Now Foundation
The Long Now Foundation was established in 1996 with the intention of countering today’s accelerating culture and short-term thinking by supporting projects that cultivate long-term thinking. The website includes Clock and Library projects, as well as thought provoking articles and (for members) videos of seminars by visiting lecturers. About the Long Now, Brand says, “It would be helpful if humanity got into the habit of thinking of the now not just as next week or next quarter, but the next 10,000 years and the last 10,000 years — basically civilization’s story so far.”

eBook: The SALT Summaries
Here is a collection of Stewart’s email summaries of a hundred Seminars About Long Term Thinking, featuring a who’s who of innovative speakers, including Jared Diamond, Craig Venter, Bruce Sterling, Jill Tarter, Martin Rees, Clay Shirky, Niall Ferguson, and many more.


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Kevin Kelly: Historian & philosopher of the technium

Kevin Kelly was the founding editor of Wired magazine, and before that, editor of the Whole Earth Review. He continues to be a fascinating and provocative writer and speaker on the cultural changes being wrought by rapidly increasing computing power and technological advances. Like his old cohort Stewart Brand, Kelly is a prototypical Driver, championing the breakthroughs that he sees on the near horizon.

Kevin Kelly’s website is an embarrassment of riches, including the Technium, where he delves deep into the technological present and future, the Lifestream, a collection of his writings, and Cool Tools, a small-scale variation on the old Whole Earth Catalog tradition of crowd-sourced recommendations.

Video: How technology evolves.
Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks “What does technology want?” and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.

Article: Three Breakthroughs that have Finally Unleashed Artificial Intelligence on the World.
A great recent (late 2014) summation of the dawning of utilitarian machine “smartness”—not necessarily intelligence, certainly not consciousness, but rather many “species” of task-specific AI.


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